These Mississippi Schools Are Only Now Desegregating
News| | By Lauren Boudreau
We all know about the infamous landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, which declared separate schools for black and white students unconstitutional in 1954. However, even though it’s been 60 years since that decision, some schools still haven’t desegregated.
This shocking reality made headlines this week when a federal court ordered the Mississippi town of Cleveland to integrate its historically “black” and historically “white” junior and high schools. The order comes after a 50-year battle with the town and the U.S. Department of Justice to integrate the schools.
Four schools will be affected – the nearly all-black D.M. Smith Middle School, the virtually all-white Margaret Green Junior High School, the mostly black East Side High School, and mostly white Cleveland High School. The high schools will be combined into one and the middle schools will be combined as well.
Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general and head of civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement, “Six decades after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education declared that ‘separate but equal has no place’ in public schools, this decision serves as a reminder to districts that delaying desegregation obligations is both unacceptable and unconstitutional.”
According to the Huffington Post, the people of the town, which is also divided racially by railroad tracks, support the decision to integrate.
But even so, years and years of being separate has taken its toll.
“The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally guaranteed right of an integrated education,” the court opinion says. “Although no court order can right these wrongs, it is the duty of the district to ensure that not one more student suffers under this burden.”